On Valentine’s Day in 1990, 6 billion kilometres from home, NASA’s unmanned Voyager 1 took the first ever family portrait of the Solar System. This included a famous image of the Earth known as the "Pale Blue Dot."
The Pale Blue Dot is easily the most inspiring, humbling, and thought-provoking image I’ve ever seen. Carl Sagan’s famous caption for the image is also exceptionally powerful and, I think, essential reading!
The term "life-changing" is overused in everyday parlance ("this burger is going to change your life!"), but I think this photograph + caption really does come about as close to any insofar as life-changing potential goes. Certainly the image did a great deal to convince me that I wanted to study and be awed by the universe.
Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every ‘superstar,’ every ‘supreme leader,’ every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.